[ExI] Is a copy of you really you?

Ben ben at zaiboc.net
Wed May 27 14:29:51 UTC 2020

On 27/05/2020 07:07, bill w wrote:
> The discussion so far has managed to sidestep an earlier issue - 
> consciousness.
> Let's assume that this impossible operation is done while the original 
> is asleep. When he wakes up he feels normal - right?  The copy wakes 
> up and what?  They do not, cannot, share a consciousness, right?  But 
> the copy has all the memories of the original and so thinks he is that 
> person whose mind and body he occupies.  When told what happened he 
> becomes psychotic - my guess.

My point is that they are both 'copies'. The original exists in the 
past, but after the procedure there are two identical versions. One 
can't be identified as 'the original' and the other 'the copy', they are 
both exactly the same. If one is going to become psychotic, so is the 
other. You're right that they do not share a single consciousness, 
instead they both have their own consciousness, which is exactly the 
same as before the procedure. Of course, they will go their own ways and 
become increasingly different people, afterwards, just as you are a 
different person from the hypothetical you that didn't go to college. 
The only difference between them is that one is on the right and one on 
the left, whereas the original was in the middle.

You could think of it like the many-worlds interpretation, where each 
moment a new you branches off in a new universe. Actually, I've not 
thought of it like this before. Surely anyone who thinks that a copy of 
you can't really be you, must think the same about all the you's in all 
the different universes?

Ben Zaiboc

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